Adanna Elechi


“Thursday is Thursday”

– Runtown

This was all we needed to reach our boiling point and take to the streets finally. This tweet woke up the youth in every state in Nigeria, and, subsequently, in countries across all habitable continents in the world.

This was the beginning of our journey to freedom, our journey to bring hope to the hundreds of families who had lost members to the Nigerian Police Force’s irrational brutality, especially the SARS unit. It was justice for the Iloanyas of the country.

The protest was the best thing I had experienced as a citizen of Nigeria. For the first time in my life, I was proud to be called a Nigerian, especially a Nigerian youth. We, the Soro Soke, Phone Pressing, Indomie, and Coconut Head Generation, were united. The religious and tribal and political lines that used to divide us were non-existent. The constant bickering on social media about gender was on hold; the Patriarchy FC and Feminist Coven sheath their swords as we all focused on a common goal: #EndSARS.

Young people in different states came out in numbers almost every day, sharing food, playing games, praying, and even practicing yoga while still demanding our rights. In all the days people protested across the country, nobody ever complained that a phone got stolen or a car vandalized; people returned lost phones and other items found. We cleaned up the streets each day, celebrity or not.

Our protest yielded the devil’s gift: the SARS unit got scrapped and was replaced with SWAT. Same people, different names. The protest continued, and we were met with more police brutality for protesting against police brutality. Jimoh Isiaq and many others died. Why would you use live ammunition on unarmed protesters? The aim is clear: sacrifice a few and let the rest cower in fear.

We ignored them and protested even harder. We demanded justice for the numbers added to their long list of atrocities. This was when the government decided to play the oldest hand in their playbook. They unleashed their greatest weapon – poverty.

Institutionalized poverty is the greatest asset of the average Nigerian politician. They use it to win elections, fight their enemies, and, in this case, win protests. The government deployed hoodlums to infiltrate the protest, to cause havoc, and blame it on us. These hoodlums attacked protesters, killing a few and injuring many others (RIP Anthony Unuode). They destroyed cars and other properties belonging to peaceful protesters. This carnage happened in the full glare of police officers and other security operatives.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. According to eyewitness videos, these hoodlums were transported with police vehicles, state-owned official buses and, the most shocking, a government-owned SUV complete with a well-dressed security officer. More videos have surfaced showing them being directed on what to destroy and what not to destroy because they belonged to ‘baba.’

One of the hoodlums graciously granted a peaceful protester an interview (celebrity things). He said they got paid N1500 to disrupt the protest by damaging government and individual properties. He also said he had been a victim of the SARS unit, and he had just been released from prison, but he needed the money.

Inmates in different state prisons were freed to discredit the #EndSARS protest and justify what later became the #LekkiMassacre. Military men attacked the most peaceful and fun protesters in the country who occupied the Lekki toll gate. They sat on the ground holding up the Nigerian flag, singing the national anthem while the military shot at them. The Nigerian flag was stained with the blood of the innocent. A courageous young woman, DJ Switch, got the events of that day on her Instagram Live. Many of us watched in horror as she and a few others tried to remove a bullet from the lap of one of our patriots, before he eventually died. Scores died, and the streets of Twitter are currently littered with pictures of missing persons.

Nigerian youths did not deserve what happened on 20-10-20. We were only asking that we stop getting extorted if we are lucky, or killed if we are not, by the police. Did it have to deteriorate to people dying like flies and people losing their homes and businesses?

When you release a beast to solve a problem, you create even greater problems, because you can’t tell the beast when to stop. These hoodlums have gone on a destruction spree, looting supermarkets and other businesses across the states. They have set fire to countless buildings and places. The country is in a state of chaos, and we don’t even know when it will end. I am sure these hoodlums were there peacefully during the protests, until they decided to use the weapon of poverty to pit them against their mates who were equally fighting for them.

Still, on this poverty thing, these people withheld palliatives meant for the citizens during the pandemic. Several warehouses have been discovered with thousands of food items stashed – I guess they were saving it to distribute during elections. They starve people to the point where they can buy their votes with a few packs of Indomie that were meant for them in the first place. One lawmaker justified keeping the palliatives intended for his constituents because he wanted to share it on his birthday, as per birthday giveaway abi souvenirs. They call us the Indomie generation, whereas they are the ones storing cartons of Indomie. Shame!

This country will not get better until we go to the grassroots and educate our brothers and sisters on the need to stop dancing to the tune of these wicked people in power. If not, they will continue to use them to sabotage our efforts for a better Nigeria.

The #EndSARS protest has played a significant role in unraveling the damage poverty and bad governance can cause in any society. It has shone more light on the fact that we are sitting on a keg of gun powder. The poorer the citizens are, the more dangerous it is for everyone. Some people in government have experienced this as some of their houses got raided and even burnt.

Dear Nigerian youth, we have started a movement that has gained international recognition. We cannot back down now. We must continue to demand justice for our brothers and sisters who have fallen due to police brutality. We must continue to fight for those who died protesting and the many whose lives were cut short on 20-10-20 and the days that followed. We must demand the punishment of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity. Most importantly, we have to take the campaign to the grassroots. We have to sensitize and ensure that our brothers and sisters who were paid  N1500, an amount that cannot buy a bucket of rice, begin to see the light. Let them know these people may have stolen their future but they can get it back, if not for themselves, then for their children unborn.

To all the people still protesting internationally, thank you. To the international press who covered what happened, thank you. To the Feminist Coalition, thank you. To all the celebrities and people across the world who lent their voices to our struggle, we love and appreciate you. Na who support us we go watch their film and stream their music.

To the Nigerian youth, thank you! May we continue to soro soke and demand for what is truly ours.

#EndSARS #EndSWAT #Endpolicebrutality #ENDbadgovernanceinNigeria.

Single parents exist. Some people become single parents, not by choice, but as a result of their partners dying. There are also people who do not care about marriage or dating. They choose to be single parents. Some people are single parents because of failed contraceptives, or because things went awry. Things happen that we don’t usually plan for.

The long and short of this is that single parents, or in this case, single fathers are here to stay. Discriminating against them is not even an option, with the way some men are fighting over who will win the title of scum of the earth. It is best to hold the good man you have tight, whether he has a child or not.

As this is the situation some of us have found ourselves in, or will find ourselves in future, it is imperative that we learn how to make our relationships work. To be honest, it can’t be a walk in the park.

There are a few ground rules to know before you decide to go into a relationship with a single dad, feel free to add yours. Ladies, bring out your pen and paper or screenshot as we go.

1. You will never be number one. You heard that right. His child comes first; after God, if he is religious. So prepare your mind for cancelled dinner dates or any other events. If that child’s temperature goes one degree higher than normal, best believe plans will get cancelled. Unless of course, he has the same relationship 50 Cent has with his first son. You chose this life, so don’t fight it.

2. Don’t force the child or children to love and accept you. If you are genuinely nice, they will fall in love with you eventually. I am tempted to say ‘eventuarry’.

3. Not all baby mamas are crazy. Some are, but definitely not all, so don’t come in guns blazing. Buy a figurative gun but don’t load it till she starts messing with you. Don’t go and buy a real gun o, see you see kirikiri o! I pray you never experience it. Spirit of fighting die die die!!! We are children of peace.

4. Men with crazy baby mothers are already stressed, don’t add to the stress by nagging him every day. You are not too cool to be dumped, Sis. I didn’t say tolerate bad behaviour, but don’t go about nagging like it’s the oxygen you need to live.

5. Don’t look down on your boyfriend’s baby’s mother. Trust me, your man was once in love with her too. We are assuming it wasn’t a ‘one nightstand’ here. We are all virtuous men or women who only sleep with the ones for us, we don’t go about sowing our seeds everywhere.

6. If they were never married and they have two children with two-year age difference, run sister, run. That is some planned births going on over there and baby number three is on the way.

7. Trust your man, but bear in mind that Okafor’s law is as strong as the law of gravity. Once that ass has been tapped, there is a very high chance it will be tapped again. We come against every spirit of repeat tapping!

8. Till he has put a ring on it, don’t take up any stepmother role. Love the child but remember to keep your distance. The father should tell him or her about you, you have no business telling them you are now the mom around here. They have a mother.

9. Remember to give father and child(ren) some alone time. You don’t have to force yourself into every conversation or picture. It is one big happy family, but still, let them breathe and be. Get your own life, watch TV or knit a sweater sometimes.

10. If you know you can’t be a part of a blended family, end that relationship now. The world is already filled with wicked stepmothers, don’t add to their number. I am also pleased to inform you that the witchcraft coven isn’t taking any more candidates. If you like, pretend to be good till you go in then change to a monster, some of us will be happy to drag you from blog to blog on social media.

Dear single girl, when you are dating a single dad, or considering dating a single dad, just know it is a different level. You have more than one person to consider in your relationship and it is not a bed of roses. If you like being the centre of attention, this is not for you. If you are the very jealous type, it is also not for you. If you are an instigator, this is most definitely not for you. For the sake of the child(ren) involved, please strive for peace and unity. If the baby mama is crazy, just mind your business and remain sane. If you start showing signs of madness too, wetin you gain? I wish you luck as you make the right decision for your dating life.

Remember to order my book, The Cover, and also connect with me on all social media platforms. I have missed my BellaNaija family. Please, all of you should join hands and pray away the spirit of laziness and writer’s block from my life. Of what use is a writer who doesn’t write?

Prepare your minds for whatever life throws at you. You may want to be a medical doctor, but life can give you fishery and animal husbandry to test you. Don’t fret, if it is possible for you to change, change. If not, put everything into it and become the best.

The moral of this story is that even if the course of your life changes, you can still end up becoming a success

Growing up, all of us had big dreams. Some of us grew up to become what we actually dreamt to be; on the other hand, after jamb jammed some of us twice, we had to switch lanes with immediate effect.

Like everyone else, I was once young with wild imaginations and grand aspirations. (I am still young, and my imaginations are still crazy: I always imagine myself beating someone, especially when I am driving.) I wasn’t one of those people who just knew exactly what they wanted to be and set their minds to it. Over the years, my aspirations kept changing. I was neither here nor there. I would wake up one day and be one thing, and the next day another thing. This was influenced by the fact I loved the arts and my parents were hellbent on sciences.

Back to the koko like Khloe, growing up, I had many career choices and they included the following:

A Medical Doctor
If you know me, you will know I am such a daddy’s girl. This career choice was influenced by my dad and godmother. I just wanted to be a doctor because of them; the things involved in the practice no too concern me. Me that I can’t stand seeing a chicken killed, imagine me in a theatre operating someone. This dream followed me until I finished secondary school. I passed my JAMB and post-UTME in the University of Port Harcourt, but some unfortunate people and villagers did a lot of malpractice and the results got cancelled, and, to be honest I didn’t bother going back to retake the exam. Don’t blame me o, I didn’t really send that year. That was how I found myself studying Applied Physics in ESUT. Nobody told me to leave that school and course. Phy-gini?

A Reverend Sister
My brothers and sisters, join me in laughing. Who dash me reverend sister?  Who will wear all these fine clothes 3ambyalex makes? All these fine boys walking around, who will marry them? Who will ‘Platiii’ with Adanganga and Kosy? That dream didn’t get to my 10th birthday. It’s not like I am a child of the world like that shaaa. Imagining myself in a convent just sent chills down my spine. I remember one long vacation we went camping and we had to spend one night in a convent. I didn’t find it funny at all. It is too quiet for me, and that their dress is a no-no. Forgive me, Lord, I will find other ways to serve you.

A Marine Engineer
Too many novels no too good oo. I don’t remember where I read about submarines, I just became obsessed. The problem was that I didn’t know jack in math. I am so bad in that subject that I don’t have any moral justification to punish my child for failing it. The second problem was that even if knew math, where in this country can I study such a grand course? I laugh in Ebonyi State University. The third problem was that the only marine anything that I know that even thrives in this country is marine spirits, and these pastors won’t let them be. So that one was a dead choice. The problems of this country quickly delivered me from the spirit of submarines. I still can’t believe I thought about becoming a marine engineer. No be only marine engineer, na mamiwater.

A Lawyer
This one is my one true calling. But back then, art was a taboo in my house. The disadvantage of being the first child, aka guinea pig. Less than four years later, art was now acceptable for children of scientists. My mother apologized to me after my novel came out. I forgive you people. In their defence, there weren’t so many big lawyers to look up to around us then. Or maybe they were consciously showing me the charge and bail ones to discourage me. Now I am upset again. I would have made a damn great lawyer. Maybe if laziness lets me, I will consider going back to study Law. Harvey Specter, I am coming for you!

A Poet
I won’t really call it a career choice, but I was actively writing poems. I was so passionate that I had notebooks filled with poems. The dream died when I gave someone one of my poem books to read and he published it as his. I am coming for you, dear thief. I think God already came for you, because you no blow after all the stealing.

Today I am a writer and a food scientist. Best of both worlds, right? The moral of this story is that even if the course of your life changes, you can still end up becoming a success. Also, you can achieve anything with hard work and dedication. I remember how people used to yab (not openly o because a girl’s mouth is like caustic soda) me in secondary school and university because I wasn’t really doing well in science subjects. In my 300 level, I let go of that “I am not supposed to be a science student” mentality and put my head down and did the work. I am sure I even did better than some people who felt they were part of Einstein’s lineage.

Many people in this country didn’t study what they wanted to study, and that doesn’t make them failures. There are people who stopped in class six and are doing amazing. The course of your life can change and destiny can be delayed but not denied. To be honest, when I conceived the idea of this article, it was just for laughs. But right now, I am even learning from it. So, for the young ones who are going to be graduating from secondary school this month, it is important for you to know life can go either way. Prepare your minds for whatever life throws at you. You may want to be a medical doctor, but life can give you fishery and animal husbandry to test you. Don’t fret, if it is possible for you to change, change. If not, put everything into it and become the best.

Even if you finished secondary school since 1900 and JAMB has jammed you so many times and you have no other option than to study Igbo Igbo bk (go and ask my mum what this means) instead of Marine Engineering, don’t lose hope, just keep at it. One day, lines will fall in pleasant places for you. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who ended up studying what you always wanted to study but Nigeria is showing you pepper. No job after years of going for interviews like Frank Donga. It is time for you to change your course yourself. Learn a skill, take courses, intern. You can even mess around and write a book like me. Yes, I was unemployed and bored and I started writing fiction. Everything is an illusion, so pick one that is empowering. If you think this isn’t true, use social media as a case study.

Don’t forget to hit me up on @adee_elechi on IG and twitter so I can direct you properly to where you can get my book The Cover. (You can check OkadaBooks). The reviews have been amazing and I want all of you to get in my head through it. You can always just say hi. I love reading from you guys.

Source: Bellanaija